Lye Vendor Comparisons?

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makemineirish

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I ran out of sodium hydroxide today and intend to buy more. Most of the threads on lye that I have found on the forum reference where to find brick and mortar retailers or the cheapest option. I don't really care about either of those metrics.

Having only bought from Camden Grey thus far, I wondered at the difference in quality and formulations (microbeads, crystal, flake, etc). I have not had much issue with flyaway beads, but I scoop rather than pour. I used the SO's lye from Texas Natural Soap Supply (local to us), and was disturbed to have little floaters on the surface of my solution. It more wary of re-stocking my own from just anywhere.

I know that a lot of you like The Lye Guy. I am totally willing to order from him and pay the $20 shipping fee if that is the best option, but was considering trying something other than beads. Bramble Berry and Wholesale Supplies Plus have flakes. They also have the advantage of allowing me to put some "fun" items in the box. I just have the (possibly unfair) perception that WSP/Crafters' Choice is of lesser quality.

Does anybody have any experiences, positive or negative, to share regarding lye that they have used from other vendors?
 

shunt2011

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The only place I have gotten lye is from Essential Depot. I but it 32-64 lbs at a time. I know a couple years ago so,e folk had trouble with it but I never have. They have quick delivery too.
 

cmzaha

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I buy my 50lb bags of caustic soda beads from a chemical house not to far from me, so I can will call, which makes it nice. I always try to find suppliers that I can will call with. I have been given several lbs of lye from various sources including Lye Guy, WSP and B&B with not noticeable difference in any of the lye including the lye from a local hardware store. Those were the days I though 10 lbs of lye was a lot :) It only cost me a lot purchasing it in 1 lb cans
 

randycoxclemson

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I just ordered 8 pounds from Bulk Apothecary this week. Friends who soap told me of this "fly away" lye issue and I've never seen it (and, yes, I pour). They won't buy BA's anymore, preferring either Brambleberry (except their freight is just too much) or NaturesGardenCandles.
 

SunRiseArts

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I buy mine at natures garden for two reasons. It comes in micro beads form which I think is safer, and costs half of BB and other places. $6 for two pounds. They also ship faster.

But I do not make tons of soap, Is just a hobby so far for me.
 

jewels621

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I get mine from Essential Depot...just got 16 lbs on sale plus another 20% off for being in their Greener Life Club. $29.75 total plus they send a sample pack of 4 different oils or butters each time you order as a GLC member.
 

BattleGnome

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I would not get lye from WSP. My first ever order of NaOH was from WSP and my second was from Brambleberry. The NaOH from WSP was a greyish color and after the fact (I think I was almost done with the bottle) I read someone's comment that WSP isn't run by soapers and their storage might not be optional to retain quality. When I ordered from Brambleberry the difference was twilight and day. The color was pure white and my lye solution got hotter.

I won't order from either again, just on the note that I prefer the pastilles to flakes, but given the choice I would suggest Brambleberry over WSP.
 

Susie

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I have only ever ordered from Essential Depot. Never had a problem.

The floaters are what we call lye lint. It happens when you have it sitting around a few minutes. Totally harmless and does not require straining out. I get it every time I masterbatch now.
 

littlehands

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I buy mine at natures garden for two reasons. It comes in micro beads form which I think is safer, and costs half of BB and other places. $6 for two pounds. They also ship faster.

But I do not make tons of soap, Is just a hobby so far for me.
This. I find NG's packaging much more manageable and the bead size is larger than any other suppliers I've used, so there's less static for me. When I'm soaping regularly, I'm pretty prolific, but make small batches, so ten pounds is a good amount for me to buy at once.
 
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Viore

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I buy my lye from Amazon. Not the cheapest, I know. But I get the prime shipping which is free and shows up at my door two days later. I only go through 5lbs a year or so. I can't imagine going through 50 lbs!
 

makemineirish

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I should have mentioned in my post: I am a hobbyist. While I might be willing to do 10-12 pounds to allow for greater vendor selection, 50lb bags are a storage nightmare. My current lye storage is a 3 gallon bucket with a desiccant tub inside. I would want anything that I bought to fit in that designated space. I do like that The Lye Guy and Nature Garden containers are bottles, rather than tubs, separated into 2lb/ea. The smaller footprint should allow me to fit a bit more, but may force me to pour rather than scoop. I can manage : )
 

neonstudy

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I've only used the Brambleberry lye so far. The flakes are white, and there are large flakes, plus some powder. Sometimes, when I pour, I get a bit of powder dusting up, but other times, it's only large flakes. It dissolves well. I just ordered some from Essentials Depot, we'll see how that goes.
 

SunRiseArts

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I would not get lye from WSP. My first ever order of NaOH was from WSP and my second was from Brambleberry. The NaOH from WSP was a greyish color and after the fact (I think I was almost done with the bottle) I read someone's comment that WSP isn't run by soapers and their storage might not be optional to retain quality. When I ordered from Brambleberry the difference was twilight and day. The color was pure white and my lye solution got hotter.

I won't order from either again, just on the note that I prefer the pastilles to flakes, but given the choice I would suggest Brambleberry over WSP.
Where do you find the pastilles. Honestly I never heard of those :???:, but it would be so much better to handle.
 

Scooter

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I have only made two mail-order purchases for lye, both from Essential Depot. I had been happy with them but I find their pricing confusing. Everything always seems to be on sale--last summer I bought 2 lbs of NaOH for $3.99, last February the exact same thing was $4.99, and today it is $6.99. Their shipping seems competitive so I might still go with them (or maybe not) but this thing of saying the "real" price is $13.99 (or whatever) and then putting it on sale for what seems like an arbitrary amount is really annoying. I just wish they were consistent so that I did not have to take so much time to comparison shop with each separate order.

First world problems, I know. :)
 

Scooter

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Actually looks like NG is now very competitive with ED's "sale" prices so I am going to order from them for the first time. I feel encouraged by the experience of others who have posted here. Thanks!
 

BattleGnome

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Where do you find the pastilles. Honestly I never heard of those :???:, but it would be so much better to handle.
My current bottle is from sweetcakes.com but it doesn't look like they're keeping it in stock anymore (I ordered it back in October/November). I recently ordered 32# from ED but haven't soaped in almost 3 months to be able to tell you the quality difference.
 

Susie

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Actually looks like NG is now very competitive with ED's "sale" prices so I am going to order from them for the first time. I feel encouraged by the experience of others who have posted here. Thanks!
Could you let us know what the number is on the bottom of those bottles? I need NaOH, as well as some other items I would rather order from NG than ED, but I re-use those bottles for many, many other uses, and would hate to not have the option.
 

Scooter

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Could you let us know what the number is on the bottom of those bottles? I need NaOH, as well as some other items I would rather order from NG than ED, but I re-use those bottles for many, many other uses, and would hate to not have the option.
Sure! You mean the bottles from NG when I get them? And I assume you me the "recycling number"... or am I missing something?

Thanks!

Scooter
 

Saranac

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Could you let us know what the number is on the bottom of those bottles? I need NaOH, as well as some other items I would rather order from NG than ED, but I re-use those bottles for many, many other uses, and would hate to not have the option.
I took a look at my NaOH from Nature's Garden and it says, "2 HDPE."

I usually buy from the Lye Guy as he's here in NYS, but I had an order to place at NG so I picked up some NaOH to make the shipping worth it. Personally, I'm not crazy about it--the larger prills are nice, but the first bottle had some hard white chucks that I assume was carbonate. It would not dissolve and had to be strained out--I've never had to bother with that when purchasing from the lye guy or ED.

EDIT: I don't see any difference in the quality of the finished soap--just not a fan of straining caustic solutions.
 
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